Peach State Brew Off 2011
I’ve been homebrewing for a little over 15 months. If you’ve been keeping up you would know that out of 15 batches, I’ve only skunked two. Two too many I know. Batch 14 was my first re-brew. The first pale ale I brewed was batch four. Which was the first time I dry hopped, wrote my own recipe and brewed with honey. They all went well. So I made a couple of tweeks. Mainly the hops, and brewed this again. This time I was after a citrus taste and aroma using American citrus hops. The only problems I ran into was a lack of time. Instead of dry hopping for one week, I was forced to let it go two weeks. This proved to be a great mistake. The very first beer I tasted only a week after bottling smelled perfect. After two weeks, still a citrus aroma bomb. So after sharing with a friends, I’m convinced it’s decent enough to get some professional criticism.
So each year in Georgia they have the Peach State Brew Off. I entered into group 10A, the American Pale Ale category. I typically brew to BJCP category standards anyways, but this one fit perfectly in the group. I was completely clueless on how well it would score.
On Saturday March 12 tweets started rolling out from group one on to the last group, then best of show winners. Each group would have a bronze, silver and gold winner. If the group wasn’t big enough for three winners, groups would be combined. The tweets were sporadic. But Sarah was shopping at the mall, so refreshing every minute or two kept me occupied and from ripping my eyes out. When my group came out bronze and silver came through back to back. No bronze and no silver. While I honestly entered just for some professional feedback, I had no hopes on winning until this long pause. So finally gold rolls out and it’s not me either. Now I get inpatient waiting on my score sheets to get emailed to me. Originally it was stated please wait up to two weeks before your score sheets get emailed. But come Monday night, they’re available online.
I guess I should add that by Sunday night, I knew I scored 35 out of 50 points. Now I’m thinking that’s a ways away from zero, yet still 15 points away from 50. I download a BJCP score sheet and 35 is in the very good class. Stating a good representation of the style with some minor flaws. So when my sheets show up online for viewing it turns out it’s a great beer. But why such a low score? Or if your glass is half full why such a high score and no medal? Turns out the beer just isn’t balanced. Well we knew that with the smooth flavor and huge citrus aroma. I even had some friends tell me this in a positive way. That the aroma has you thinking it’s going to be a hop bomb, but it’s totally different. So how did I totally botch a great beer with unbalanced hops and aroma? Simple. Because I love my wife. No Sarah I’m not blaming you for yet another thing. Honestly I’m laying in bed the night before I was to brew reviewing the recipe to try and memorize it to limit mistakes on brew day, and I swapped the hops. My IBUs are within style guidelines no matter how I add them. So I add my aroma hops at 60 minutes boil and my bittering hops at 15 minutes of boil time. I know lowered the IBU by almost 10 points. Enough to know Sarah will enjoy it.
The only other negative notes from the two judges were some bready taste. I know exactly which grain did this and I know what I’m going to replace it with. Also medium head with minimal retention and lacing. So I have some Carapils in mind to add next brew to help with the retention. I’m debating on brewing it again with corrections, then that same recipe but with some lemon zest, apricot or orange peel to enjoy through Summer.
Also, congratulations to my buddy Denver for his bronze in the weizen class with 38 points. We’re discussing rebrews and finding another competition to enter into so we can grab more medals for PSBO next year.
Happy brewing and Cheers!